BRIDGWATER-MARSA TWINNING ASSOCIATION MEETING
Wednesday 3rd June 2009.
31, Camden Road, Bridgwater TA6 3HB
Present-Mike Grabner, Steve Morgan, Steve Gill, Tricia Brown, Pat Morgan and Ken Richards.
Apologies- Joseph Abela, Colin Brown, Di Grabner, Barbara and Gordon Taylor.
Minutes from the last meeting- all received, read and agreed.
Matters arising- PM reminded the meeting that the annual presentation of the Marsa cups was to be on Friday 5 th June to the Bridgwater Ladies Skittle League. SG said he could attend and SM had been requested to be the “official” photographer by the Secretary of the League Chrissie Briffet.
Up date from the Chairman- SG Welcomed our new president our new Mayor Councillor Ken Richards and thanked him for accepting the position, and also thanked him for a very enjoyable night at the Mayors reception that he and Joan attended.SG expressed worries as the Association was not moving forward and the fact that he had done alot of work towards Marsa Day but it had been felt we did not have enough time or members to carry it through. He felt that there was money in the bank doing nothing-there had been no civic visits by any parties from either country only personal ones, he had not wanted to set up the twinning to do nothing and if more was not done he felt he may have to resign.
There was a general discussion and it was felt we do not have many members here. TB again said that it would be good to have a group like us in Marsa of ordinary citizens but wondered if it would ever happen. Phillip Smeed had mentioned that when he was in Marsa for the official signing in 2006 he had spoken to the local priest who appeared keen to develop a group but as Marsa has 2 churches which priest was it? SG asked Ken Richards if anyone on our council would take a special interest in our twinning as Dominic Spencer does in the Marsa council. We as an Association find it difficult to be able to access things through the council as we do not have the knowledge or the contact. MG pointed out that the funding issue that had come from Marsa for EU money did not give us time or the Town Clerk to do anything in the time scale available.PM will write to Alan Hurford to see if a councillor would be interested in becoming a liaison officer as we need to keep the momentum going.SG said the twinning agreement will be due to be resigned in 2011 so we need to keep going.
SG and MG pointed out that there have been many positive things to have happened but we are at a low plateau at the moment.SG pointed out that we have all worked hard as individuals especially PM and SM, also our Mayors and councillors.SM pointed out we have made many good friends in Marsa but the main groups outside of Marsa council are the Scouts and schools. Again it was agreed that we need to be in contact with the ordinary people of Marsa.PM said the mayor of Marsa Francis Debono had asked her if she would speak to people when they visited last October but he had been unable to arrange anything which was disappointing. It was pointed out that Marsa and the council are having severe problems with illegal immigrants which must take up their time.
Update from secretary-PM reported that she has been in contact with Mr Ward about the Banner. The council crests we had sent were not a high enough definition to increase. She had sent emails to both councils with no response and had to send again. Marsa had sent a good one but Bridgwater suggested contacting RT signs and explaining that BTC had suggested contacting them.PM to do. If we are unable to get suitable visual art an alternative was decided –The St Georges Flag with Bridgwater written underneath and the Maltese Flag with Marsa written underneath as the pictures.
The Association had been invited to promote themselves at the Family Fun Day at Brainwave on 6 th June at a cost of £5. SG had tried to access some Literature from Malta Tourist board but had not had a reply. PM has taken some time off from work so she and SM will be able to be there for part of the time. TB offered to help in the morning and SG in the afternoon.PM will do some leaflets and has some Galletti to hand out. We will wear our polo shirts with the Twinning logo’s.
Update from Treasurer-SM pointed out no change in finances. £1,189.49p
Update from Membership Secretary-TB said we have 16 members and 3 corporate members. She told us about the Homburg Twinning meeting our association had been invited to, 3 of our members attended. They have group visits where they have 2/3 days home hospitality and then go to stay elsewhere where they choose but organised by their hosts. They have had a successful work experience exchange (a teacher) for 3 months and student exchanges for English courses but difficult now because of police checks. They have twice yearly outings and monthly meetings where they have a speaker - we have been invited and will give a talk on Malta and Marsa on 13th April 2010.Speakers to be arranged! We found out that there are grants available for children’s exchanges from Somerset County Council and others. TB suggested some joint social functions, a cheese and wine party was suggested at a small venue like the Charter Hall. PM will contact their secretary.
Any Other Business- a general discussion was held to plan how we could heighten our profile and attract members .PM will promote us when she presents the Marsa Cups at the Bridgwater Ladies Skittle presentation.SM suggested that we hold an informal evening in a local pub it was decided to go to the Carnival Inn (Weatherspoons) on Thursday 25th June from 7.30 hrs.PM will also promote this on the leaflets for Skittles and Brainwave. KR felt that the signs for the twinning with Marsa on the Bridgwater entrance signs for the town are not large enough. He also expressed a wish to return to Malta as he enjoyed himself so much before.
MG suggested that Bridgwater has the most people in the town for the annual carnival in November and wondered if we could have a walking entry and promote ourselves that way. Will need to contact carnival committee to see what charge there may be. We would like very much to obtain another Marsa flag as the one presented to the association went missing. To contact Francis Debono and buy a flag from him if possible.
It was suggested any of the functions we arrange should have minimal finical outlay. TB informed us that our place at Wembdon Village day is booked. Other ideas are 1)Use a large advert in the local press but pay for it –would need a good advert and find out price.2) Run an advert on Quay West Radio which SG believes is £300 for 6 months- he will contact them as knows them well. Also Emma Britton on BBC Somerset as she is interested in the Twinning and promoted us in the past. SG understands she will have a Maltese Singer Rosman Pace (Joan’s cousin) as her album of the week at some stage and will tie in the twinning with it. SM also suggested having a Quiz about Malta/Marsa in the Mercury.
Another way of brining us closer MG suggested was for a party from Bridgwater to go to Marsa when it is their Regatta on 5th September maybe in 2010 so we have time to plan and arrange. We would be there for the presentation of the Bridgwater Cup.
Another suggestion was to present a trophy for Bridgwater carnival – we would need to write to the carnival committee and offer it to them.SM to go through invoices to find out what we paid for the Bridgwater Cup.
Members of the meeting wished Steve Gill luck in the forthcoming County Council Election.
DATE/ TIME AND PLACE NEXT MEETING
Thursday 25th June
Carnival Inn (Weatherspoons) St Mary’s Street
All welcome from 7.30 hrs